1 Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” 3 But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa, and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. (Jonah 1:1-3)
We often convince ourselves that we are not hearing from God when, in reality, we are ignoring God. Sometimes God gives us instructions that are contrary to our own personal desires or expectations. As a result, we choose to ignore those instructions or even run from the responsibility that has been bestowed upon us.
In Jonah’s case, he was unwilling to go to the Nineveh and share the message of hope with the people there that they may have the opportunity to turn from their wicked ways and have a relationship with God. While we cannot be sure of the reason for Jonah’s unwillingness to preach salvation in Nineveh, we know that he was actively running from God’s specific instructions and depriving the people of Nineveh from hearing the message of salvation.
When we disregard God’s instructions in our lives, the effects are rarely isolated to ourselves individually. The effects of disobedience typically affect our family and those around us. When we fail to represent God, we cheat others of the good works that God desires to perform in and through us. As God put it to Jonah… “And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?” (Jonah 4:11)
The world needs Godly leaders and Godly examples. The simple truths that God asks us to share can have widespread effects as God often multiplies our efforts beyond what we can see or even imagine. We should never allow ourselves to flee the presence of God because He is asking us to serve Him. We should always seek ways to draw closer to God and consider serving Him to be an honor and a privilege.
What instructions has God given you? How is He attempting to use you to bring the lost to Himself?
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8)
May you take joy in serving the Lord as you become an example of truth and love in a dying world.